Category: Commander-EDH


An Examination of Time Walk Effects in EDH (Guest Post)

time-walk

Let’s Not Do It Again: An Examination of Time Walk Effects in EDH

Guest post by Eamonn Naidoo

I like playing blue. I like the sense of control it gives when I play – the ability to counter almost any threat to my game plan, while drawing enough cards to make sure I have threats of my own is invaluable, especially in a format like EDH. I also however, know what it’s like to sit across from a blue commander with a non-blue deck and feel pretty dismal, because you just know everything is backed up with permission, and annoying effects like Capsize (does that thing even have a non-buyback cost?). But, those effects are understandable – blue has those effects in its color pie identity (pie-denty?) and those effects are both useful and powerful in EDH. They are not very fun for your opponents, perhaps, but they are necessary. There are aspects of blue that I truly despise though. Two facets specifically – creature stealing and extra turn effects. Nothing incenses me more than those. Today, I’m dealing with the extra turn effects: hopefully I can convince any time walkers out there to lay down their love of temporal manipulation, and to recapture, not Jingue, but the fun of this format.

time-warp

So, why do I hate extra turn effects so much anyway? Well, let’s imagine what happens when some player lays down, let’s say, a Time Warp in a four player game. What happens? Well, for a start, the game slows right down and the normal turn cycle is interrupted. Straight away, there’s a problem. Turns are important in EDH – lots of stuff can happen very quickly. But, in the early turns of the game, people are generally setting up their resources, carving out some sort of game plan for themselves. An extra turn for a player is then pretty good. However, you are then denying the next person, and indeed, the whole table of an entire turns worth of resources. Maybe, you say, that’s just a good use of resources, like playing a Sol Ring on turn 1. Playing a Sol Ring on turn 1 doesn’t require the entire table to watch you for double the normal time however. Which leads me on to my second point: it shifts attention to the player taking the extra turn.

Why is that a bad thing, though? Well, much like the annoying girl on your Facebook feed (“If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best” followed by “Just did body shots off the bartender #ABSolutelytrashed #thisishowwedo”) you don’t particularly want to give the extra turn player your attention, but there they are, militantly posting photos of them and “the gurlzz” hitting up clubs and plastering them all over your news feed. You don’t even have the luxury of “deleting” them in this scenario. And that attention-hungry behavior is, I believe, a real problem in EDH. This format is, by design, a multiplayer format. That means there are all sorts goofy things you can do here, that you can’t do in other formats. Moreover, the fun comes from interaction with other players (90% of the time. The other 10% is you getting to play that sweet new card you just traded for). Extra turn effects take that interaction away. The player taking an extra turn effectively shouts “look at me!” and (without completing their rendition of Lady Bump) forces the whole table to watch as they pretty much just cast a really expensive Explore. What kind of player would do that? I think I’ve narrowed it down to 3 types of player:

1. The Newbie

Everyone wants to break the rules when they can. Fastbond, and other similar effects (time walks included) have this innate appeal to them – a sense that you alone are so powerful that you can break these fundamental rules of the game. So, of course, given a format where most of that wackiness is legal, the new player will play those effects. They are drawn to the power of these effects and are oblivious to any boredom they may cause. Just give them time (see what I did there? That was hard to come up with. This article is really exercising my temporal lobe. Okay, I’ll stop). Hopefully they will repent once they learn the error of their ways.

2. The Die-Hard

The second type of player is the most common (at least in my playgroup). Specifically I have this friend who has this annoying Azami deck complete with every Time Walk effect, save for the $100 + cards. He isn’t a n00b. He knows what’s going on. He is, by all measure, a very good player. Yet, he plays loads of extra turn effects. What’s up with that? Well, when you ask him about it, he restates his opinion that extra turn effects “aren’t that bad, nor are they oppressive or boring”. No matter how much I try to convince him otherwise, he won’t relent. He’s gotten a taste and now firmly (but incorrectly) believes that extra turns are the only way for mono blue to get ahead. This, coming from the deck with a potential 2nd turn Jace, the Mind Sculptor or a turn 3 Patron Wizard, soft-locking everyone out of the game until someone finds a Supreme Verdict. Yeah, mono blue’s got it real hard.

3. The Self-Confirmed “Dick”

Buckle up Lana, ‘cause we’re in the danger zone. I’m sure we’ve all encountered this player before: the player who always brags about how OP his deck is, or how “brutal” his 17-piece combo finisher is. Sometimes, this player might actually have an actually annoying combo (like Knowledge Pool + Teferi, or Mindslaver + Academy Ruins) and when asked why they run it, instead of a more friendly, disrupt-able combo, their answer is always the same: “Because I’m a dick”. They revel in it. They savor every syllable, making sure you know exactly what you’re dealing with, and that no amount of reason or logic can convince them to do anything they don’t want to. Now, this player loves taking extra turns because they know it’s annoying; they know that the entire table hates them, and that when they assemble the infinite turn combo lurking in their deck, the table will most likely concede out of sheer boredom. And they love it.

And that’s another thing: chaining extra turns just exacerbates the problems mentioned previously. The game slows to almost a complete stop, there is no interactivity (and therefore, no fun) and you might as well just be playing solitaire. But there is one thing they don’t do: win the game for you. It’s not a Mikhaeus + Triskelion situation where everyone dies immediately; it’s a slow, durdly, painful limp towards the finish line that is victory. The worst is when they can’t even find a kill condition in the ±4 extra turns that they’ve taken. You made everyone watch you for 30 minutes, and now you can’t even kill us?! If I wanted to watch someone play with themselves for 30 minutes I would … yeah, you can probably figure out the rest.

I could say a lot more on this subject, but I think it would just devolve into me ranting about things I don’t like in general (!) about EDH. Or it might just end up being a poorly contextualized list of Magic related puns (when it comes to Predators, I prefer to let Trygones be Trygones)  Anyway, hopefully, some of what this article said makes logical sense, and even if it didn’t: if you see your playgroup moaning every time you cast Time Stretch, maybe you should take the extra turns out, and see how they react. You could find yourself in a much happier playgroup than before. You may even find yourself having a bit more fun seeing what hilarious situations you – and your friends – can create out of this Magical format.

– Eamonn Naidoo

We’re proud to announce the introduction of yet another new writer, J.C. Wilbur. He is an avid EDH and Legacy player who will be sharing his knowledge with us, especially about Legacy, a format that we have not written about at all on Win Target Game so far. Also, be sure to check out his brand new blog: http://devastatingdreamer.wordpress.com

Today, J.C. takes a look at his Krenko, Mob Boss EDH deck and explains why Red is most certainly not the “worst color in EDH” as many believe. Enjoy!

“The Red Zone: Why the “Worst Color in EDH” is Anything But”

“Red’s just terrible in Commander, bro!”

I hear this kind of opinion all the time.

“It’s a splash color at best. But you can find better options in other colors.”

“Green destroys artifacts anyway, has better creatures and it ramps you. Why play Red?”

“Land destruction? Please stop being such a dick!”

Everyone seems to have these canned responses to Red in EDH. These are views that I honestly believe are fostered by an ignorance of the color’s flexibility and sheer power. I, as you may have guessed by the title, am here to persuade you otherwise; Red is actually a brutally strong color if you know how to play it right (and, yes, we will be talking about land destruction).

First, introductions. I have been playing Magic for around seven years now; I started in high school, probably the worst time to be playing it from a social standpoint but we won’t get into that. In college I began my Legacy career, starting with Affinity and then cutting very deep into the format. I have played many, many different kinds of decks and, while I appreciate all the colors and combinations thereof, mono colored decks have always held an allure. It’s a challenge, you see: it’s relatively easy to just say to yourself “I’m lacking X kind of card; better splash Y color that has X in it!” But it’s entirely different to sit down with a mono White deck and say to yourself, “Okay, he has True-Name Nemesis and a Stoneforge Mystic with a Jitte in hand. How are we going to stop that?” We’ll be avoiding that particular Legacy scenario today. Instead let’s ask ourselves another question: “I know my Rhys, the Redeemed opponent plays Elesh Norn; so, what can my mono Red deck do to answer that?”

The answer is pretty simple: beat them before they beat you, using any (some brutal) means necessary. Fortunately for Red, winning quick is one of its strong points. Take my current Krenko, Mob Boss list for example:

http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/krenko-mob-boss-goblins-and-gangbangers/

Perhaps on the surface this seems like just another aggressive beatdown deck—and you wouldn’t be incorrect. This deck is all about pummeling your opponent as fast as you can. However, this list has more in common with its Legacy cousin than your typical Red aggro that flames out after a few turns. Come, let us go deeper into the warrens.

The Green Men

krenko

Krenko, Mob Boss

He really is a boss. Krenko takes the big chair in this deck over Kiki-Jiki because his ability is, simply put, broken in this deck. Doubling your army with expendable tokens is more relevant than just spamming combat—though that is always your primary plan. The tokens give you everything you need: mana from Skirk Prospector/Phyrexian Altar, damage from Siege-Gang Commander/Purphoros, God of the Forge and added buff with a Coat of Arms in play. Krenko himself has a few very relevant elements: being a 3/3 means that he survives Elesh Norn, allowing you to rebuild quickly if she does land; having a CMC of four means that Austere Command, unless choosing all creatures, may not hit him since your opponents are likely more worried about the tokens; finally, since he actually is a Goblin, Krenko is easy to recover from an Oblation, Spin into Myth or Chaos Warp—or he can be ignored completely. That’s the brilliance of this particular build, I think: it’s completely autonomous without the commander but becomes exponentially more lethal when he’s around.

kiki-jiki

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

Krenko’s right hand goblin. Although Krenko is all-around more efficient, Kiki-Jiki is definitely the more powerful card and functions in complete symphony with the rest of the deck. He’s the card that Legacy Goblins has wet dreams about—a utility machine that just creates insane value. Beyond the obvious combo with Zealous Conscripts, Kiki-Jiki turns your already great Goblin Matron, Ringleader and Settler into repeating effects that will only infuriate your opponents. Or you can copy Piledriver to end a game sooner, Siege-Gang for more bodies or any of the lords to buff your team. There is very little to say about Kiki-Jiki other than that he is one of the reasons you should play Red.

goblin-assassin

Goblin Assassin

On the surface, the Assassin looks bad—terrible, really—until you consider his interaction with Krenko. Suddenly, your tokens become edict effects, albeit random ones. However, if you’re spitting out eight tokens, more than likely you’ll keep a few and your opponents will lose some, if not all, of their creatures. Goblin Assassin is the kind of card I go heads-over-heels for—a hidden card advantage engine if you use it properly.

sensation-gorger

Sensation Gorger

A Wheel of Fortune on legs. Except when you wheel with Gorger, you draw an extra card for turn, putting you at a temporary advantage—and, as a plus, you are guaranteed some kind of gas to go with him.

zo-zu-the-punisher

Zo-Zu, the Punisher

Rounding out the less obvious of the creatures is Zo-Zu, a card your opponents will learn to hate. Like Sensation Gorger above, Zo-Zu is a walking version of another card—Ankh of Mishra in this case. Zo-Zu is nice because he is a response to a common behavior among all EDH decks: ramp. From the best of the best in Exploration to something janky like Burnished Hart, Zo-Zu despises them all. Maybe your opponents will ignore him and take the damage, hoping to slam a lifesaver—and maybe the six-to-ten damage they have taken over the course of those few turns has softened them up for an alpha strike.

There are other cards I’d love to ramble about but I’d like to move on to other cards in the deck and how to relate to Red’s power in the EDH format. Specifically…

 

Land Destruction (or How I Learned That Sometimes You Have to Be a “Dick”):

So, here’s the thing: land destruction isn’t that bad. Yes, I know. You can’t cast your Tooth and Nail. I get it. It “sets the game back.” I know. I hear you over there, across the table, bemoaning top decks with no mana sources. But you know what? LD gets too much hate. If you cast Tooth and Nail, for example, and slam down an Iona and an Elesh Norn against my deck, I lose. That’s really all there is to it—maybe, yes, I’ll find Karn for your Iona and Chaos Warp your Norn, but that’s really, really unlikely. Meanwhile, you get to sit in behind your fat hatemonsters, wondering why I am frustrated. And I’ll tell you why—I wish you would have casted an Obliterate instead. Hell, Worldfire if it wasn’t banned. At least then I could maybe play some Magic.

Perhaps you choose a different kind of deck and you flip an Erayo, Soratami Ascendant and cast an Arcane Laboratory. How is this much different from me destroying your lands? Your opponents can’t cast anything, short of an Abrupt Decay or something off a Boseiju/Cavern of Souls, without losing it—in fact, it’s even less fair since you get to play your game while we sit around. Frankly, I don’t see how dominating with something like the previous two scenarios or something a bit more tame like a Sun Titan & Pernicious Deed lock is any less fair than cycling a Decree of Annihilation.

Here’s what I’ve learned about land destruction in EDH: people rarely play it “just to be a dick.” Aside from the handful  of people that think to themselves “man, I’d really love to play Hokori, the Dust Drinker” and massage themselves, most people running land destruction run it because they need an equalizer. Take something like Kaalia—right from turn zero, everyone at the table knows who they’re attacking first, who they’re playing their hates spell on first, who they’ll be “dealing with” first. It’s not unreasonable, Kaalia is a real bitch if she gets going—but it is dickish singling anyone out because they like a certain strategy. We’re all out to win, after all; even if we tell ourselves we’re “here to have fun,” Magic is a game in which there must be a victor—and sometimes that means you are destroying lands. In my mind, it’s completely fair to cast Armageddon with Kaalia in play since, without it, everyone else will simply crap on her for the entire game.

With Krenko, it’s much the same. As a committed aggro deck, I can’t afford to play the typical slow-game of EDH. I have very few “battlecruiser spells” (Insurrection is the goofiest I get) and most of my deck starts to grow stale past turn six. I need an equalizer, something that can give me an edge if the game goes long, and it shall if more than two people sit across from me. Land destruction naturally fits that need—by effectively taking us back to the early game, I can regain my footing and maybe scrape out a win.

Maybe you still dislike my rationale and that’s perfectly fine; if everyone preferred the exact same archetype and strategy Magic would become an entirely boring ordeal. All I ask is that you don’t castigate someone for liking or pursuing a particular strategy; instead, seek out your best way of counteracting it, be that through cards like Terra Eternal or simply sandbagging a land or two in your hand.

My current land destruction package is admittedly light; however, I dislike cards like Wildfire or Obliterate that wipe out my forces with them:

goblin-settler

Goblin Settler

This one is obvious: Stone Rain on a Goblin is crazy, crazy good. Especially with Goblin Lackey or Kiki-Jiki as I mentioned above.

wasteland stripmine

Wasteland/Strip Mine

Both are, in my opinion, necessary in most EDH decks. It’s nice to have an out to manlands, Maze of Ith and out-of-control ramp cards like Gaea’s Cradle, Cabal Coffers and Serra’s Sanctum. Note that I don’t run Crucible of Worlds because, frankly, I haven’t become that heartless yet.

price-of-glory

Price of Glory

Another reason why Red is awesome. Flavor text notwithstanding, Price of Glory forces your opponents to respond differently or suffer the consequences—while your game plan is completely unchanged.

bloodmoon

Blood Moon

Ah, yes, the bane of tri-color decks since nearly the dawn of the game itself. Blood Moon is another card that can blow some opponents right out of the water while leaving you basically unscathed, especially if they aren’t on Red.

impending-disaster

Impending Disaster

I love it when flavor (especially something that syncs with your commander) and mechanics come together. This card only becomes better with more players, and can take the heat off one of some other Krosan Grip-destined card you or a friend control.

Decree-of-Annihilation-FtV-Annihilation-Visual-Spoiler

Decree of Annihilation

Yes, the one everyone hates. Uncounterable, instant speed and draws you a card. You’ll be cycling this card 90% of the time, but sometimes it’s nice to just equalize everything.

ruination

Ruination

A nice answer to three-or-more color decks with very little downside for the mono Red player. It’s also nice that, even under a Blood Moon, Ruination destroys lands. Land Destruction isn’t the only reason to play Red. In fact, there are at least three other advantages Red has over any other color: Haste, Direct Damage, and Chaos. Let’s break each of these down.

fervor masshysteria hammer of purphoros

Haste

Oh, haste. Hasty haste. Other cards may give your creatures haste like Lightning Greaves or Concordant Crossroads, but none compare to Red. In my list alone (not including Goblin Warchief, Goblin Chieftain and Hellraiser Goblin), I have Fervor, Mass Hysteria and Hammer of Purphoros; even these don’t scratch the surface of other haste cards like Ogre Battledriver or Anger.

So, why care about haste? It only lasts for a turn, after all. Here’s the thing: one turn can make or break a game. One additional combat step can tilt the game in your favor, leaving slower opponents scrambling to keep up. This is only further compounded by Krenko’s ability; once you start spamming the field with twenty or so goblins at a time, your opponents suddenly start to get worried, often too late.

I also find many people like to play board wipes. Once things start to get hairy, your White mages start clutching their Austere Commands with great eagerness; your Blue mages, now realizing they can’t counter everything you do, start tutoring for Cyclonic Rift or Evacuation. Once the dust settles, things are back to the same, stalled safezone that “everyone wants” while they return to assembling their pillowforts. Haste gives the Red deck the ability to recoup after a wipe and continue to disrupt your reactive opponents, keeping the damage stream going. On that note, let’s talk about…

Direct Damage

And I’m not talking about Lightning Bolt. In my list, there are a few cards that do DD, but each are more devastating than your typical bolt; some are more goblin- or token-centric, so take this list with a grain of salt.

goblin-bombardment

Goblin Bombardment

Again, flavor win. Most of the time this doubles your damage output, turning any goblin that deals damage to your opponent into a bomb. However, it also gives you good creature removal, generating card advantage via Krenko’s token ability and by making your Goblin Sharpshooter go berserk.

siege-gang commander

Siege-Gang Commander

Functions much like Goblin Bombardment, except that he deals more damage and brings a bunch of cousins to load into the cannon.

purphoros

Purphoros, God of the Forge

A blessing for Red, Purphoros demolishes pillowforts with his godly hammer. His pump ability, though expensive, is a nice touch. Sometimes you’ll be swinging with him, though this is just icing on the cake.

chandra-ablaze

Chandra Ablaze

I was skeptical of it at first, but Chandra deals with most commanders, creatures, other planeswalkers, your opponents… honestly, she’s just great, even if you are discarding Red cards. Her other abilities, especially her little wheel, are bonuses as far as I am concerned.

bonfire of the damned

Bonfire of the Damned

B-B-B-Burn everything in your path! A one-sided wipe is very much what this deck wants, especially when it can hurt planeswalkers or straight-up dome people.

mizziummortars

Mizzium Mortars

A staple of Red EDH decks and in this deck for the same reason as Bonfire, though the fact it can never be turned on you and can be a decent Flame Slash.

goblinsharpshooter lightning crafter

Goblin Sharpshooter/Lightning Crafter

More synergy with the rest of the deck; Crafter has the bonus of saving a Goblin Matron or Goblin Ringleader from a boardwipe, Sharpshooter has the ability to go nuts with a bunch of tokens and a sacrifice outlet.

pandemonium-time-spiral

Pandemonium

If you’re one of those Norin the Wary type,s you are already familiar with this card. Beyond costing much less than a Warstorm Surge, Pandemonium creates just that: complete chaos. Suddenly your opponents are hurting one another; players previous lacking in removal need only play a creature to remove the Nekusar or Azami that has been plaguing them. Sure sometimes they may hit you, but there’s a chance they won’t—and this brings us to Red’s last saving grace…

wheeloffortunealpha

Chaos

Ever since the printing of Wheel of Fortune, chaos as a theme has been Red’s major advantage and disadvantage. When you’re winning it does not seem advantageous… but if you’re losing? What’s the worst that could happen? Chaos further adds to Red’s political advantage that I think few players appreciate.

warpworld

Take Warp World, for example (it’s not in my Krenko list, but it is definitely a good Red card): its effect screams “Hey guys! Let’s see what we can do next!” Warp World is the kind of card that gives players who are losing or being oppressed by other commanders a glint of hope — this is Red’s most underplayed advantage, I believe: not the ability to necessarily change the board, but to change the minds of your opponents. If you cast a huge, chaos-y spell that gives previously bloodied players a second wind, you’ll gain political currency with them that can translate into a direct advantage in-game (note: do not expect any favors from Spikes; they’ll thank you for releasing their shackles and proceed to kill you just as mercilessly as your opponents).

A few cards I run under the Chaos banner are:

gamble-urzas-saga

Gamble

Flavor text says it all. Sometimes this card nets you a Sol Ring on turn one, sometimes you discard a Kiki-Jiki and frown. But, either way, there’s a chance. Not that this card is a fun way to make friends by choosing someone to choose your card to discard.

chaoswarp

Chaos Warp

Pretty much standard in all Red EDH decks. As a Red Oblation, this card trades something really scary (Elesh Norn, Propaganda) for potentially something else. Or you can use it to gain favor from someone who has had a commander or beloved fatty stolen. Your choice.

wheel-of-fortune

Wheel of Fortune

Another card that is basically a staple. Wheel effects are a nice way of restocking an empty hand with fuel and also a great way to equalizes anyone with a stocked hand and a Reliquary Tower out.

Well, I hope you’re still with me! This article definitely turned out to be more of a monster than I originally intended, but I hope you enjoyed reading it. Hopefully I’ve swayed your opinion on land destruction and Red’s power in EDH; maybe you’re sharpening your pitchforks in the comments section. Regardless, I have one thing to remind you of before I go…

Red deck wins!

– J.C. Wilbur

angus-mackenzie

Angus Mackenzie is one of the Legendary Creatures that are simultaneously exclusive to Legends and on the Reserved List – making it extremely expensive now. At the time of writing, it is upwards of 70 or 80 dollars now.

So what does he do?

Well, for WUG, you get a 2/2 Legendary creature. Nothing too impressive, but he’s at least playable as soon as turn 2 or 3 with the right mana fixing. His ability is the real reason he is powerful – for WUG and tap, you prevent all combat damage this turn, as long as it is done before combat damage.

Due to the fact his activated ability is Fog, his deck tend to play more defensively – preventing the damage makes you basically invincible to damage as long as you leave 3 mana open. The most common strategy for this is for Superfriends – Bant gives you a lot of fantastic planeswalkers combined with Doubling Season. However, due to the amount of strategies available to him, we’ll be breaking this up into a couple of articles.

Cards for the Planeswalker “Superfriends” build:

Obviously, the main thing for a Superfriends deck is to play a ton of planeswalkers and ways to add loyalty without necessarily just using abilities.

141

Essentially every Planeswalker in this deck (other than Venser, the Sojourner) can immediately use its ultimate if it comes into play after Doubling Season. As a quick reminder, Doubling Season only modifies the loyalty that the Planeswalkers enter with. They’re placed when a planeswalker enters play, but adding loyalty is a cost to use the activated ability of the planeswalker. Doubling Season only causes twice as many counters to be “placed” when counters are “placed,” not added as a cost.

53

Clockspinning is a more narrow card. For U, you can take a counter from any permanent or suspended card and either remove it, or add another counter of that kind to that card. As this includes loyalty counters, it’s already pretty good. It wouldn’t be worth playing if you only used it once, though – it has Buyback for 3 colorless mana, which lets you cast it and then return it to your hand if you pay the buyback cost.

152

Gilder Bairn is the only way we really have to double our Planeswalkers after they’re already in play – for 2{G/U} and an untap (not a tap) you double all of the counters on target permanent. Fairly self explanatory.

M15 has given us quite a few new tools for this deck, in fact.

thechainveil259

The Chain Veil is the newest Superfriends support card. The downside is mostly non-existent in a Superfriends deck as you should always have at least 1 planeswalker in play that you’re using. By paying 4 mana and tapping it, you get to use each planeswalker you control an additional time this turn. This can easily push certain Planeswalkers over the amount of counters that they would need to activate their final abilities. Combined with Rings of Brighthearth, you can then double the Chain Veil activation to get an additional two planeswalker abilities per planeswalker you control. Even when you don’t have the Chain Veil in play, you can use the Rings to get additional planeswalker abilities.

ajanisteadfastEN_huddvvv39d

We also got two new Planeswalkers from Magic 2015 that feel almost exclusively for Superfriends. Ajani Steadfast has a powerful -2 that helps out your other Planeswalkers, but his ultimate combined with Doubling Season gives you an emblem that causes all damage that you or your Planeswalkers would take from a source to 1 – making it much easier to survive an onslaught even if Angus isn’t in play. Jace, the Living Guildpact is fairly strong in this deck. His +1 isn’t as bad in Commander as it is in Constructed due to the size of the decks, but his ultimate at -8 is just ridiculous and it can automatically go off with Doubling Season.

Our newest addition won’t be out for a little while, however.

teferitemporalarchmage

While Teferi, Temporal Archmage is allowed as a commander, he serves a much better purpose in a Superfriends deck like this. His -10 is the most notable aspect when it comes to this deck. The emblem he gives you lets you use your planeswalkers every turn, not just on your own turns – this ruling was confirmed by Matt Tabak earlier this week. Aside from that, his +1 is solid card filtering, and his -1 is very powerful as well, untapping important artifacts like The Chain Veil, and mana rocks like Mana Vault and Grim Monolith.

296

Seedborn Muse is already a fantastic card in Commander, and Teferi just makes it even better. It essentially lets you use each of your planeswalker’s abilities twice every turn, including your opponent’s turns.

The rest of the Planeswalkers in the deck are simply there to have their ultimates able to be activated with Doubling Season on board, mostly.

The next article, which will be out tomorrow, will be about a turbo fog build of the deck.

Until next time.

-SolemnParty

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Teferi, Temporal Archmage – Commander 2014 Preview

Today it was revealed that in November of 2014, there will be 5 five pre-constructed Commander decks. This time, they will each be mono-colored, rather than the three-colored decks previously released. Today, the first of these decks was revealed. It’s a mono-blue deck called Peer Through Time. The cover card is a new planeswalker, Teferi, Temporal Archmage. A Teferi Planeswalker has been expected for quite some time, but why is it the cover card of this new Commander deck?

teferi-temporal-archmage

Yes, you read that correctly. Teferi, Temporal Archmage can be played as your Commander. A planeswalker that can be a Commander?

First of all, let’s consider him as a Planeswalker. He costs 4UU to cast, which is on the high end for a planeswalker, and he starts with 5 loyalty. His +1 ability isn’t bad at all, essentially giving you a free Sea Gate Oracle type effect: look at the top two cards of your deck, and put one of them in your hand and the other on the bottom of the deck. But his -1 ability is very, very good: untap up to four target permanents. So essentially, this Teferi Planeswalker could essentially cost 2 to play, perhaps even less if you’re using Nykthos, Shrine into Nyx in a mono-blue deck.

Already his first two abilities are pretty decent. But his -10 is just bonkers. It’s an emblem effects, which already means that it does something silly. This emblem says: “You may activate loyalty abilities of planeswalkers you control on any player’s turn any time you could cast an instant.”

WHAT!? After reading that, I had to reconstitute myself. I would assume that each planeswalker’s ability can still only be activated once each turn, but being able to activate loyalty abilities of planeswalkers on an opponent’s turn is just a bit broken. Never mind that we have The Chain Veil to make things even sillier, allowing us to use these abilities twice in a turn.

Now a mono-blue deck would seem to be a fairly good place for this Teferi, especially with the powerful Jace planeswalkers, Tezzeret the Seeker, and Tamiyo, the Moon Sage. Considering that he can essentially act as a Legendary Creature, I could see a pretty silly mono-blue deck built around crazy Jace, Tezzeret, and Tamiyo shenanigans doing some work.

But there’s another crazy thing about Mr. Teferi, Temporal Archmage. He passes the Doubling Season test.

He passes the Doubling Season test. Since Doubling Season can double the counters on planeswalkers, Teferi would enter with 10 loyalty counters, and be able to go ultimate upon hitting the board. Now, obviously Doubling Season is a green card, but there are plenty of blue/green and “Super Friends” type decks that will happily make room for this Teferi, as being able to play Planeswalker loyalty abilities at instant speed sounds pretty good. His other two abilities are both useful, as well, in a wide variety of decks.

We’ll see what sort of deck Wizards will support him with. We already know that the other four decks will have planeswalkers as cover cards, as well. It’s hard to know if this will be a regular thing going forward, or just something for this set, because the idea of planeswalkers as Commanders is a pretty cool idea.

Definitely looking forward to a new wave of Commander decks. We’ll see what sort of power Wizards will decide to pack into these decks being able to focus on a single color.

– Elspeth for the Win

mtg_commander_symbol

 

Today, I decided to ask for some responses from Reddit about my Commanding Opinion articles – and I got an awesome recommendation.

Generally Speaking is a new segment on the site that will be used as a kind of Glossary for Commanding Opinion – as a fellow redditor, /u/Pjfinega suggested!

Basically, I’ll be posting articles about things that are generally used in Commander, including archetypes, terminology, and the synergies that should be known in the format.

I’ll try to get these up fairly quickly so they’re there to refer to while writing my articles. If anyone ever wants to suggest anything for the site, you can find me on reddit as /u/solemnparty and you can always comment on any of my articles on here.

Until next time,

-SolemnParty

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Akroma, Angel of Fury is an alternate-reality version of Akroma, Angel of Wrath that was originally introduced in Planar Chaos and was reprinted in Heavenly Inferno, from the original set of Commander decks.

Akroma is 5RRR for a 6/6 uncounterable flying trample angel with protection from white and blue with firebreathing (paying a red to get +1/+0.

The most unusual thing however, is that this Akroma is a Morph creature.

I have no idea why she got morph, aside from Planar Chaos being the king of breaking the color pie. There’s something in the storyline about Ixidor (I’ll get to him eventually) vowing to destroy the Cabal, but I’m not sure how closely related these two characters are.

To explain morph, you may cast this card face down as a 2/2 for 3 mana, and then turn it up for that card’s morph cost, which is 3RRR in this case.

Honestly, I don’t know of many situations you’ll morph your commander into play, but it does at least you have the option of playing her at 3 mana turn three and 6 mana at some point later during the game if you’re flipping her.

The rest of the time, she’s a fairly mediocre commander. She’s a huge threat on the table as a 6/6 flying trampler with protection from the two control colors, but doesn’t do a whole lot else after that. As far as aggro is concerned, her costing is extremely high but does give you a pretty solid creature.

Cards to play in Akroma, Angel of Fury:

  • Standard red support.
  • Sword of Feast and Famine
  • Sword of War and Peace
  • Whispersilk Cloak

If you plan on using Akroma as your commander, you are going to need to be doing commander damage – her high power, evasion and protections make her excellent at the very beginning, and all you need to do from there is make her stronger and harder to get rid of. The few pieces of equipment I mentioned above are just to make her either stronger or hard to get rid of. Feast and famine gives her protection to everything but red between itself and her own protections, and then war and peace or fire and ice can cover that red if she needs protection from all colors. Whispersilk Cloak is to shroud her from the 3 colors she doesn’t have and unblockable so she can kill them as soon as possible.

Luckily, she also has pumping built in, with firebreathing already on the card.

Cards to play Akroma alongside:

The “play alongside” in this case is mostly just talking about her ability to morph, and doesn’t really do a whole lot. She’s a standard red commander, but I feel there are much better options.

That being said, she’s still a great red creature and can definitely see play in other commander decks.

Until next time,

– SolemnParty

 

Usually, the core sets don’t have a whole ton of legendary creatures – we got lucky with M13, which had the tribal cycle of one-color legendaries, like Krenko and Yeva.

M15, however, seems to be full of surprises.

obnixilisthefallen

Ob Nixilis was one of the creatures from Zendikar that sparked my interest the most. Namely, his flavor text.

His spark lost, he plots revenge upon the plane whose corrupting mana fractured his soul.

For tohse not very versed in magic lore, the term spark refers specifically to the Planeswalker spark – that one-in-a-million occurrence that causes a being to become a planeswalker, like Jace or Chandra.

The original Ob Nixilis is a funny card, relying on land drops to drain your opponents. In format with fetchlands, it wasn’t surprising to see a land fall trigger rewarding you with a black effect.

And now, I saw this a few moment ago:

obnixilisunshackled

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is a new Ob Nixilis – he has gotten his wings (including flying and trample) but not his spark. Rather than the landfall trigger bonus the original got, the new one has an effect that punishes your opponent for using their fetchlands – and any other tutor.

Whenever an opponent searches his or her library, that player sacrifices a creature and loses 10 life.

Well I have to admit, I’m impressed. The other part of this effect is that whenever a creature dies, he gets a +1/+1 counter.

While he’s a little small for at a 4/4 for 6, the original was 3/3 for 5.

I think they are both extremely playable as commanders.

Cards to play in Ob Nixilis, the Fallen:

  • Burnished Hart
  • Consume Spirit
  • Exsanguinate
  • Fetchlands
  • Polluted Bond
  • Terrain Generator

Ob Nixlis, the Fallen essentially plays out like most mono-black commander decks – lots of mana doubling, and then dropping a kill spell like Consume Spirit or Exsanguinate.

Cards to play in Ob Nixilis, Unshackled:

  • Barter in Blood
  • Sadistic Glee
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is a very, very interesting card that I”m excited about. I feel that The Fallen is more playable as a commander, but Ob Nixilis is more splashable in other commander decks, such as the following:

  • Grimgrin, Corpse-Born
  • Marchesa, the Black Rose
  • Nekusar, the Mindrazer
  • Prossh, Skyraider of Kher Keep
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One
  • Thraximundar

And of course, there’s plenty of other black decks that enjoy death that I’m likely forgetting.

Until next time,

-SolemnParty

 

 

 

Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran

Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran, is a Boros Legendary Creature from the original Ravnica: City of Guilds.

At 3RW for a 3/3, he initially sounds fairly underwhelming. That is, until you read his ability:

Whenever Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran attacks, attacking red creatures +2/+0 and attacking white creatures get +0/+2 until end of turn.

This more or less balances out his casting cost, giving you a 5/5 for 5 mana.

As far as actual Commander implications, he isn’t terrible, but I’d rather play Tajic, Blade of the Legion or Gisela, Blade of Goldnight over him most of the time. However, if you are playing entirely Boros creatures, he effectively makes every creature in your deck +2/+2 bigger each time you go on the offensive, making him a fantastic aggro commander.

The best example of this sort of deck is one that I found on MetaMox, which is becoming a go-to site for our Commander research here at Win Target Game. Besides being a fairly budget deck, this Agros Kos EDH list uses exclusivelycards that are both red and white with the sole exception of Rally the Peasants, which has a Red flashback cost. This allows Agrus Kos the ability to always have his troops at full strength and the various buffs pump more effectively for all creatures.

Things to play in an Agrus Kos Deck:

Outside of using him as a Commander, he is definitely a good play within other Boros decks lead by the other aggressive commanders like Aurelia and Tajic.

How would you build an Agrus Kos deck?

– SolemnParty & Elspeth for the Win

 

Adun Oakenshield Legends

 

Adun Oakenshield is a Jund commander from Legends.

For GRB, you get a 1/2 Legendary Human Knight. Nothing particularly good for 3 mana.

However, his ability is what makes him shine. for another GRB and tap, you can put a creature in your graveyard into your hand.

While this makes him look more like a utility card, it makes him a very powerful combo Commander, being another user of the Hermit Druid Combo in some cases.

The Combo Route:

  • Devoted Druid
  • Dread Return
  • Hermit Druid
  • Morselhoarder
  • Necrotic Ooze
  • Spikeshot Elder

The combo is to use Hermit Druid to mill your entire library by not playing basic lands in the deck at all.

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Then, you use Dread Return to get Necrotic Ooze into play, which gets the activated abilities of all creatures in all graveyards: in this case, we’re focusing on Devoted Druid + Morselhoarder + Spikeshot Elder combo.

You can add and remove the -1/-1 counters from necrotic ooze by adding the counters with Devoted Druid and removing them with Morselhoarder to get infinite mana of any colors. Then, using this infinite mana, you repeatedly use the Spikeshot Elder ability to kill every other player at the table.

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Aside from that, Adun is just good at getting creatures back, letting you reuse your best creatures over and over again.

Things to play in an Adun Oakenshield deck:

  • Fauna Shaman
  • Fulminator Mage
  • Life from the Loam
  • Riftsweeper
  • Sakura-Tribe Elder
  • Skullclamp
  • Survival of the Fittest

Until next time,

– SolemnParty

 

Adamaro First to Desire

Adamaro, First to Desire is an interesting Legendary Spirit from Saviors of Kamigawa. For 1RR, you get a */*, whose power and toughness are equal to the highest number of cards in opponent’s hands.

I’m personally not a huge fan of this card as a Commander, as he feels mostly like an anti-blue card, hating on card advantage by giving you a big creature for 3 mana.

I personally think Adamaro is worth playing as a Commander, but he needs a significant amount of help from his deck.

Cards to play along in an Adamaro Deck:

Cards to play alongside Adamaro in other decks:

Essentially, anything that forces your opponent to have a large hand size works well with Adamaro. Land destruction also works very well with Adamaro, as it will keep your opponent from emptying their hands if you limit their number of lands in play.

– SolemnParty

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